5 Toothpaste Ingredients to Avoid


If you follow standard oral hygiene recommendations, then you are brushing your teeth twice per day with a good quality fluoride-based toothpaste. While many kinds of toothpaste on the market are healthy for your teeth, there are several harmful ingredients in toothpaste that can do more harm than good for your pearly whites.

Protect your teeth by learning which toothpaste ingredients to avoid so that next time you buy toothpaste at the pharmacy, you can choose a tube that promotes dental health rather than causing damage to your teeth.

1. Triclosan

Triclosan is an organic compound that has antibacterial properties. So, it is sometimes included in toothpaste to help prevent gum disease. Although triclosan is FDA-approved, it has been linked to thyroid function disruption and antibiotic resistance.

According to the American Dental Association, triclosan is no longer available in toothpaste in the U.S as of 2019, but you may need to throw out any old toothpaste containers that contain the ingredient.

2. Microbeads

Microbeads used to be found in toothpaste as a mildly abrasive agent to help remove food and debris and whiten teeth. Microbeads are made from insoluble plastics that cannot be digested and often end up in local waterways, adsorbing toxic chemicals and harming marine wildlife.

Like triclosan, microbeads are no longer found in new toothpaste in the U.S. due to the 2015 Microbead-Free Waters Act.

3. Charcoal

For the past few years, activated charcoal has grown in popularity as a whitening agent for toothpaste. While it may remove some surface stains, charcoal is not a beneficial ingredient to use on your teeth every day. Avoid charcoal toothpastes as they can:

  • Wear down the enamel on your teeth
  • Cause tooth sensitivity
  • Stain or damage artificial teeth

If you are concerned about the color of your teeth, schedule an appointment with your dentist at Hinsdale Dental to discuss professional whitening options.

4. Sodium Bicarbonate (A.K.A. Baking Soda)

Baking soda is an abrasive ingredient that is found in many toothpastes on the market. While a little baking soda can wear away surface stains, the abrasive nature of the compound eventually wears away the enamel on your teeth, which makes them appear yellow and discolored.

The abrasive texture can also irritate the gums. The alkaline chemical makeup can disrupt the delicate pH balance in your mouth. It is best to avoid toothpaste products containing baking soda as the ingredient is not necessary for clean, healthy teeth.

5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

SLS is a detergent found in many toothpastes. It is used to create the foamy feeling that you associate with cleaning your teeth. Unfortunately, SLS can cause skin irritation, and it aggressively irritates mouth ulcers.

Although SLS doesn’t cause a reaction in everyone, if you notice an increase in mouth ulcers, chapped lips, or skin irritation from your toothpaste, look to see if it contains SLS. If it does, throw it out and find a brand that is SLS-free.

Schedule Your Dental Exam With Hinsdale Dental

Along with your at-home teeth cleaning routine, visiting your dentist every six months for a check-up and professional cleaning is important.

Contact the team at Hinsdale Dental to schedule an oral exam to ensure your teeth are in good condition and ask any questions about the toothpaste you use. Call us at (630) 323-5200 or email our team at [email protected].

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